Cuba has fast 4G LTE available in most parts of the country and in all locations frequented by tourists.
While all hotels offer wifi and most AirBnB’s known locally as ‘casa particular’s’ have wifi available, for those staying longer than a few days it makes more sense to acquire a local Cuban mobile phone number.
Foreigners can use wifi cards to survive, but they’re a nuisance to acquire, are based on time as opposed to download quota and don’t function like a mobile connection when moving around (i.e. they need to be used where there is wifi available).
Your foreign mobile number will not be able to roam in Cuba. My Australian, Argentine, US and German phone numbers did not work in Cuba.
A local cuban SIM card and number will give tourists access to Cuba’s mobile 4G LTE network and if paid for in cuban pesos acquired locally at the informal exchange rate, it will be more convenient and significantly cheaper than wifi cards too.
you will need a vPN in cuba
In order to make full use of the internet in Cuba tourists will need to have a VPN installed on their devices.
I’ve personally used NordVPN for 5 years both at home and while travelling through Australia, the Middle East including Iran, Eastern Europe, Latin America including Cuba and most recently, Argentina.
NordVPN worked flawlessly in Cuba and allowed me to access my bank accounts, the Apple App Store and even watch US Netflix while in Cuba (Cuban television programs are awful).
Unlike other VPN’s I can confirm NordVPN works both on wifi and the cuban mobile phone network. Some of my Cuba based foreign friends found that their VPN’s worked perfectly on wifi but would fail on the mobile phone network.
With NordVPN I had a strong, fast and secure connection on both wifi and cellular services in Cuba.
It’s important to note that even if a tourist is only staying in a hotel and accessing hotel wifi with cards paid for in $USD or €uro, they will still need a VPN to access most foreign mobile applications due to US sanctions on Cuba.
As a ‘digital nomad’ working online I need have access to fast internet and be able to access a large number of websites and mobile applications including bank networks. I found that Cuba’s mobile 4G network with my phone paired to my laptop and running through NordVPN was more than fast enough to accommodate my online work.
further information for cuba
For those interested in travelling to Cuba but worried about connectivity, you can find a definitive guide on how to acquire a cuban mobile or cell phone number with mobile data on this website.
I’ve also made a Cuba Frequently Asked Questions Page (FAQ) available on this website. And I would strongly advise you to read it before travelling to Cuba.
My Cuba FAQ page will save you a lot of time and a significant amount of money on your trip to Cuba. Cuba is not the sort of destination in which you can just arrive unprepared.
You can read the Cuba FAQ Page here.
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